Archive for the ‘weird religion’ Category

The Parable of the Offended Man

April 29, 2009

One day a man called Lucius was walking towards a supermarket when another, a big, burly man, stopped him and said: “You offend me, sir.”

When Lucius then asked the other how he had caused offense, the other growled and said: “There are many reasons. You are no perfect man. You covet, you blaspheme, you do not follow the Law.”

“What law might that be?” Lucius asked, but the other merely flexed his muscles and growled again.

“Now, since I’m a nice guy”, the other said, drawing a long, heavy nail, like some crude stiletto, from a deep pocket, “I’m going to do something about that.”

Lucius naturally cringed, but no harm came to him: the big man pushed the nail into his own left bicep, grimacing with pain, eyes rolling in his sweaty face like marbles in a dishwasher. Some froth was involved in the regions of his mouth, too. After a while he pulled the nail out, wrapped a bandage around his arm, and smiled. “There.”

Lucius, unsure of what to say, merely repeated this: “There?”

“Now I’ve forgiven you all your offenses against me.”

“Huh?”

“Usually, when someone offends me, I do pretty ugly things to them — that nail thing for starters, then something with pitchforks. But since I’m a nice guy, I decided I’ll take it on myself, on a condition. So run along now, little man. As long as you remember this, you’re alright in my eyes. If not, well…”

And he chuckled, his eyes twinkling like moonlight on a sea of raised knives.

“Er, right”, Lucius muttered, and then staggered back from the angrily flexing bloody bicep as it was thrust towards him.

“Listen, you idiot! Don’t you value the suffering I went through for you? I’d have beaten you to bloody pulp otherwise, you moron!”

Lucius smiled a rictus, nodded, and then ran. Thanks to blood loss and the timely arrival of the nice men in white coats, he got away.

* * *

And that was another installment of “What if God was a man? And other instances of weird religion!“, the subject today being the Crucifixion, the great “Er, did you need to do that?” moment of Christian metaphysics.

The Parable of the Blackmailing Mad Scientists

February 25, 2009

The first time a Mad Tinkerer called the President, he demanded a lot of things: and since this is a Mad Tinkerer I am talking about, many of those were a bit unusual. There would be blood, chaos, destruction, and evil atomic mutants unless the whole nation would stop wearing ponchos, increase their pizza intake and never, ever make jokes about ions.

The Tinkerer added that an effective deterrent for this last one would be criminalising the deed: an Anti-“I’m positive!” Act of sorts.

The President declared the nation would not be blackmailed by a kook with a science degree from Mouhaha Tech — mainly because the democratic equivalent of blackmail (elections) every four years was already more than enough for him — and fine, there was blood and chaos, destruction and three green-skinned giants with laser eyes. The nation got over that — not the President, though, as the next election was all about “being soft on the physics menace”. That particular Mad Tinkerer fumed a bit, but his threats were increasingly hollow, thanks to the Pan-Continental Atomic Mutant Early Warning System (PCAMEWS, pronounced pee-zee-myers).

The next Mad Tinkerer, seeing that blackmailing the entire nation was a bit troublesome — some were willing to obey, others not, and no matter what the final decision was, there would be grumbling and everyone would blame the would-be world-ruling scientist, and no-one would understand his Grand Vision — well, seeing that, the next Mad Tinkerer went personal.

One day every TV everywhere turned on, and the sneering, weak-chinned visage of the engineer with a Ph.D., too much free time and a “Spock so loved the world”-t-shirt glared at the populace. He proclaimed he had devised a giant distributed Atomic Robot-Mutant Killer Legion which consisted of insect-sized nanite drones, scattered all across the nation.

His ultimatum was clear, though the reasons for it were obscure: Ponchos for everyone. No more pizza. And ion jokes every Thursday, on every TV station and radio channel, at least five of them. (If there were as many — he didn’t tell.)

Anyone that didn’t obey would be immediately and personally killed by the distributed drones.

This, connoisseurs of Mad Tinkerer lore proclaimed, was a new and very interesting approach — usually mad scientists went for the “everyone obeys, or the skies will fill with green shit!” ultimatum. This concern for individuals — and the willingness to go for individual throats and other fatal spots — was, according to the specialists, the herald of a new age in the glorious history of blackmail by almost all-powerful figures unwilling to make an intellectual case for their curious demands.

* * *

The meaning of this parable — that is, the parallels to the Gods of the Testaments Old and New — should be obvious. In the Old, either the nation did as the Lord said, or there would be much blood, chaos and destruction, though no evil atomic mutants. According to the New, either an individual does as the bum rabbi said, or the individual goes to Hell — which may or may not contain distributed insect-robot-drones (the New Testament, even the Revelation, fails to mention those).

In other words, those religions were and are just blackmail.

* * *

And this has been your dose of “same God, different guise” for today. See the older ones here.

The Good News of Gotthjalp

February 16, 2009

The water cooler burbled. Tim stared down at his cup of coffee and listened his co-worker blather.

“— and then he waved his hand, and — kazam! — the plate was whole again.”

“Nice”, Tim muttered. “How’d he do that?”

“Magic.”

Tim looked up, puzzled. “Magic?”

“Yeah. Like, real magic.” Jack smiled. “They say he’s a real magic man. If he raises a hand in a forest, a dove will come down and settle on his wrist.”

“Trained dove?”

“Of course not. He’s one with nature. Calling a dove is no more miraculous than me calling you, and you coming to me.”

Tim had a nasty reply to this, but suppressed it. “Must be nice when fishing.”

“Ah.” Jack winked. “Fish’s bad for you. Gets your spirit down. That’s why he says we shouldn’t eat fish. You should come to one of our dinners sometime. My neighbor reads excerpts from his biography; then we have a bit of food and talk. It’s nice.”

Tim searched, quite desperately, for a way of declining this bothersome invitation. “Biography? Er, he’s a big in Sweden, huh? Still, er, touring?”

“No. He went away.”

“Huh?” Tim spent and few seconds trying to decipher this coy remark, but then Jack went on.

“Walked to the wilds one day. Became one with nature once again. But he’ll come back, and when he does, we’ll be here to greet him, and his bounty.”

“You mean, he went… uh…”

“Nah, it’s deep and mystical. My neighbor’s better in explaining this. You know, there’s this tale about trouble he had with a bank once — a real a-hole of a banker — and my neighbor says he tried to act the same with his bank, and boom!”

“Er, boom?”

“They just rolled over and gave him the loan he needed. A miracle!”

“Woah. What was that bounty you said something about?”

“Nature’s bounty. You know, it stands to reason that if you’re one with nature, you won’t get sick or anything. You won’t get funny in the head, or lose interest in ladies, or any of that depressing stuff. And stands to reason he’ll teach his fans a bit more once he gets back. Bit more than what’s in the biography anyway. It has this really funny and deep story how there were thirty people listening to him and just one Mars bar to eat…”

* * *

And that, dear reader, is a veiled shadow of how Christianity spread in those early days of the first century of the Common Era.

I almost chose the title “…of Gotthjälp” instead, but wasn’t sure if the umlaut-a would display properly. Some Nordic version of “Yahwe helps!” anyway.

An offer you can’t refuse

December 30, 2008

A knock from the door; there are two sunglassed, black-suited, polite, friendly musclemen behind the door. You back away, they step in. One puts a friendly, muscly hand on your shoulder and smiles. Gold flashes in his smile; a cross at his lapel.

“Hello, neighbor. Heard you had moved in, so we, being friendly and all, decided to give you a visit.”

His partner stays at the door, unsmiling.

“Nice place you’ve got here, neighbor. Nice family. Nice dog. Nice body — go out to the gym a lot, huh?” A finger prods your chest, hard.

“Would be a shame if something were to happen to you, here or on the other side. Not that we’re threatening, no, don’t misunderstand our intention — but you know, just in case, it could be nice to have a bit of insurance.”

You stammer a request for clarification.

“No! We’re not some cartoon mafia bad guys — neighbor, you grievously wound me with that accusation. We’re just your friendly neighbors, worried about the state of your life. It would be a tragedy were your soul to spend an eternity burning in Hell, right? Or were a divinely directed lit cigarette light up your garage? Things aren’t built to last in this time, this mortal world. It’s such a sad thing. But don’t you worry — such accidents don’t need to happen. We’re here just to tell you the Big Boss likes you; likes you, kiddo. Loves you. Is deeply concerned about the state of your life, your family, your very soul. Surely you can appreciate that fatherly concern? For your family’s sake if not otherwise?” (more…)

God vs. the financial crisis!

October 31, 2008

A new post for my category of weird religion, containing diverse mummeries and mockings of religious things and figures. Today: God versus the Financial Crisis!

* * *

God, the omnipotent creator Himself, is looking down at the world with His trusty main angel aide by his side. Things are going badly in the world of men: a financial crisis looms, wars and famines spread, and American Idol refuses to die.

God: Hmm. I’ve heard people are hungry down there, angel.

Angel: Indeed it is so.

G: Famine… ha, I know. There’ll be enough food if there are less people. I will smite —

A: Lord, you promised you wouldn’t do that again.

G: Did I?

A: The whole Flood thing. And they happened to get it in writing, too.

G: Oh, that little… My next coming will take that back. I swear he-I will. Well, how about this finance stuff, then? This must be easier. I’ll make it rain gold coins for forty —

A: That might not work.

G: What? Why? (more…)

Immanentizing the Z-Eschaton

May 7, 2008

(A slightly updated repost.)

I do not think there is a God, any god. If I did, what would I do? Probably scream in terror, since what follows is the “best” scenario I can think of.

Oh, and please note: It is not my intention to upset anyone. Stop reading if you’re easily upset.

* * *

Two men sat on a ridge overlooking the city. Far below they could see the zombies, the living dead, groaning and moaning. A stiff breeze took care of the stench of rotting and burning flesh, but the ridge wasn’t a pleasant place to be.

There was no better place, anywhere. Anymore.

The elder of the two cradled his rifle and spoke. “Did you see the professor?”

The younger spat, looked down at the burning malls and the remains of the University, and nodded. “Yes. Shot him a few times through the chest.”

“Was that enough?”

The young one gave a weary grin. “Of course not. He’s somewhere there… wandering around with the rest, the poor in spirit that hunger. Who could have believed he was right?”

The older one — formerly an assistant at the University’s department of Ancient History — sighed. “At least no-one’s going to sue or fire him now.”

“Fire at him, maybe”, the younger snapped.

“Sorry. Still… It makes sense now, even to unbelievers such as us. Those old rumors of devouring living flesh and fresh blood, surviving only in jokes about eating brains, and all that.”

The young one rubbed his hands; he felt vaguely angry because in this world full of the undead there was no place to complete a Ph.D. thesis.

Or no review board anyway. Talk about a speck of light!

The older one continued. “Eating flesh and blood, and that they shall never die, and all the dead shall rise up… Who would have known time distorted the truth so badly?”

Far below, the living dead roamed the streets, clothes in tatters, bodies covered with blood, grime and burns, maddened eyes rolling in rotting grey sockets.

And a great moaning, groaning voice rose from the congregation of Christian zombies, all around the world, three days after the second coming of the thorn-crowned Lord of Golgotha, which is the place of the dead —

“Kyrie eleison… kyrie eleison… kyrie eleison…”

Lord have mercy.

Talking evil

October 17, 2007

Cast: Jill, a Christian; Jack, a confused man; and Joe, an atheist.

Act I

Jack: Why is there evil in the world?

Jill: Simple. We are free to choose; we are not mere puppets, we humans. God made us with the capability of choice, and the evil of the world is the result of us choosing not to love Him, or each other.

Jack: Nice.

Jill: God is great! I mean, He’s Huge!

Jack: …wait. What about tsunamis?

Jill: What?

Jack: You know, huge waves caused by shifts in Earth’s crust. How are those caused by our bad choices? And what about being killed by a cheetah? Or being blinded and paralyzed because of a random blood clot?

Jill: That’s irrelevant. Evil is an inevitable result of free will. Even God can’t avoid that.

Jack: Wasn’t he supposed to be all-powerful?

Jill: Look. I have to consult my priest. Bye. (more…)

Rapture accidents

October 2, 2007

It happened one day, and as there were many, many Christians, there was bound to be one that was unlucky. That was Jack, the best and most sweet man of his congregation, a veritable Ned Flanders, though he was poor, and at times he had a temper.

And so Jack shook and growled. He had been born-again and he had tried to be nice, godly and clean, but now he finally could take no more.

“Take your plate and go!”, he barked, slammed the door in the pastor’s surprised face, and turned away.

His wife called from the kitchen, and he muttered angrily in answer. “Tithes, eh? I’m finally through! No more charity in Jack. We’re barely living with what we got now. Screw that pastor, screw his collection plate, screw his church, and screw God too.”

He sighed, and a customary thought of regret, a customary prayer for forgiveness, began to slowly rise in his mind.

Too slowly, as there suddenly was a quiet noise, and then a clattering sound from the kitchen. Jack found a knife resting on the floor, next to the empty clothes of his wife, and her wedding-band.

Looking outside, he could see the pastor’s empty clothing littering the sidewalk.

It had been the Rapture, and all the believers were gone, the rest abandoned to suffer at the hands of the Antichrist. Jack cried in horror. “D’oh!”

He was the one that had been just barely left behind.

* * *

Yes, I’ve been watching too much Simpsons lately.

The weird parts of religion, part 5

September 27, 2007

Two women were sitting on a bed of coals. Somewhere nearly, a demon capered, waving a pitchfork and singing.

Because this is Hell, it had been singing the same song for the past seven million years.

Between screaming and shrieking, the women found time to talk to each other. Here’s that conversation, with the screaming and occasional cursing edited out.

(more…)

The weird parts of religion, part 4

September 21, 2007

The place: Heaven. Fluffy clouds and eternal sourceless sunshine — er, godshine.

The intent: Applying imagination to some of the beliefs Christians hold (or held) about Heaven.

The characters: A trio of angels — Puriel, Zadkiel and Gaghiel — leaning against a cloud-wall, eating cones of ice cream that never melt on their own.

Puriel, a tall one with eyes of fire and a cone of vanilla, speaks.

Puriel: So, any new rumors on the time and date of It?

The other two shrug. Zadkiel, a sad-eyed form with long white hair and a grand nougat whirl cone, smiles and sighs.

Zadkiel: Only It knows the timing of It.

Puriel shudders.

Puriel: Enough with that correctness of yours! Only He knows the timing and moment of It, the End of Men.

Zadkiel: As you wish. You haven’t kept up with the culture down there, in the societies of the humankind, huh?

(more…)